Compared was the Spanish version (ESP) with the US rough cut.
The history of the versions of TCM III is rather complicated: the movie had to be heavily censored for the theatrical release in order to get the more profitable R-rating. This already pre-censored R-rated version from the USA was then also released in other countries. The first unrated version, which was at least considerably longer than the R-rated, came out on VHS and LD soon afterwards in the USA. But it quickly came to light that this unrated version didn't contain all scenes, either. Among others, a VHS was released in Spain which was still a bit longer and apparently cut differently.
So when the medium DVD became popular there was released, at first in the USA, then also in GB, a new unrated version (the R-rated version is also contained on both discs). This second unrated edition is also called "News Lines Unrated Version". When comparing the unrated first edition (US VHS / LD) with the unrated new edition (US / UK DVD) it becomes clear that the new edition is more revealing and hence is probably the best choice at the moment. Some changes were made during the hammer scene. On the unrated DVD, the little girl gets to kill Ryan with the hammer. But all shots of her in this scene are missing on the LaserDisc, which is supposed to suggest to the viewer that not she but Tex killed poor Ryan.
At the moment, it's unclear in how far the already mentioned Spanish VHS tape differs from the two unrated versions. Unfortunately, the tape wasn't at hand, so this couldn't be checked (This comparison is old and the author is not active anymore. If one of our readers could provide us with this tape, he or she may contact us via E-Mail). Apart from the already mentioned versions, there's also circulating a rough cut of the movie, which apparently contains the most scenes, however, as is usual, it's not an official version and only available in poor quality.
All in all, there are at least 5 versions of TCM III: R-rated version, unrated first edition (US VHS / LD), unrated new edition (UK / US DVD), Spanish VHS by Columbia Tristar, rough cut.
The running time indications refer to the ESP version.
Not considered were counters and single shots in the rough cut.
US rough cut: 1:26:46 (without credits. Measured with counters and black screens)
ESP: without end credits 1:17:13 / with end credits 1:21:30
The text at the beginning of the movie is missing in the rough cut.
The fearful face of the girl (Gina) is also visible before the strike with the hammer.
The text is still missing in the rough cut.
A round lamp is shown longer before the pan over the bones starts.
The above-mentioned pan ends when Leatherface slams his mask onto the table.
There's text visible in between in the ESP.
Leatherface works longer on his mask.
He sows pieces of skin together and strokes the mask with his fingers.
Gina standing at the window is shown from the side as she is watching Leatherface.
Leatherface stands up and leaves his place before he opens the door.
The drive starts differently in the rough cut. In the ESP, there's a sign reading "Donīt Mess With Texas", which explains the punch line at the end of the rough cut, where it comes up later.
When a skull is being discovered in the mud it is shown longer. It's also visible when the guy puts it at the edge of the hole in the rough cut.
There's a different shot in the ESP in which the skull isn't visible behind the two men.
In the rough cut, a woman walks through the picture after the reporter was shown. Corpses are being carried away in body bags in the background.
A dialogue of Michelle and Ryan in the car is missing at this point in the ESP.
Some cuts to Michelle sitting in the car are missing as the gas station attendant is about to fill up the car and mumbles something to himself.
No running time difference
The gas station attendant keeps grumbling about something and angrily slaps something into his hand, which he then throws away.
All scenes of Michelle in the rest room were mixed up and put differently in between the dialogue of the guy and Tex. There shouldn't be missing anything in the ESP and the rough cut shouldn't be significantly longer.
After they found out the gas station attendant to be a peeping Tom and him having run into the house, they are standing a bit longer in front of the house.
Michelle tries longer to start the ignition as the gas station attendant threatens her with the rifle. When she drives off Tex is shown with the rifle pointed at her.
There's a shot from the window shield as the two turn right at the fork in the road on their flight.
The shot in which the truck is taken out of the garage is longer and they step on the gas more often.
When the truck turns on the light behind them it is shown from the outside in the ESP, but not in the rough cut.
Ryan works longer on the wheel of the car while Michelle shines the light in all directions.
Leatherface is shown one more time.
Leatherface grabs the bumper with both hands and wants to pull himself up. In the ESP, he only grabs it with one hand and then the guy in the car is shown.
Rough Cut 00:25:26
Here, the jeep and some shots of Benny are missing in the rough cut.
They pull over in the rough cut and talk. When they continue driving again, some parts of the dialogue are missing.
Rough Cut 00:26:00
All cuts to Benny during the accident are missing in the rough cut.
Benny frees himself from the jeep and mumbles to himself while he crawls over the ground.
Ryan telling Benny something about a chainsaw is partially displayed in different camera angles.
No running time difference
Rough Cut 00:30:10
When Benny looks at the traces of the chainsaw on the trunk, they are actually visible in the ESP, but not in the rough cut.
No running time difference
Some scenes of Benny loading his gun and of the truck are longer.
in total 4 sec.
The gas station attendant in the truck says something while the guy is falling down the slope.
Benny and Leatherface fight a bit longer in a few shots.
ca. 10 sec.
The guy lies longer on the ground when Leatherface kicks him.
Leatherface follows Gina through the forest. Some parts of this are later shown in the ESP.
A camera pan from Michelle and Ryan to Leatherface is missing. Then the fleeing woman is shown.
Benny wakes up and sits up.
Benny and Gina talk longer.
Gina shouts something after the guy and laughs as he runs into the forest.
The scene of Gina at the tree comes up at this point in the ESP; in the rough cut, Leatherface follows the couple until Ryan steps into the bear trap.
Leatherface holds Gina up longer.
Leatherface takes his chainsaw from the tree.
The scene of Gina getting cut up is longer. After that, Leatherface, quite out of breath, is shown in a close-up.
Ryan, who is caught in the bear trap, tries to tell his girlfriend more often to get away from there.
ca. 5 sec.
Before Leatherface cuts him he bows down to him.
The crying girl in the house is shown longer from above.
In the rough cut, Michelle getting attacked by Tex is displayed in a different perspective.
The girl picks up the dagger from the ground.
The girl laughs longer after she has thrust the dagger into the doll again.
Michelle nailed to the chair:
She throws her head forward in pain.
Blood is running down the nail and dripping into a cup.
Michelle whimpers for her life. The girl mimics her and laughs.
A shot of granddad's hand is missing.
A hook is driven into Ryan's calf.
A short shot of the girl.
After Ryan has been pulled up, someone pats him on the belly.
The mum eats something.
The mother is happy and applauds.
When everyone has left the room, the camera slowly zooms in on Ryan until the twitching face is visible. He tries to say something. Michelle screams and looks at her nailed hands.
ca. 58 sec.
The scene in which Tex's brother throws body parts into the pond is completely missing in the rough cut.
ca. 130 sec.
When Leatherface forces the guy to take the Walkman out of the oven, the hand is shown a little bit longer in the fire.
The mother comforts Leatherface. She strokes his head and kisses him on the forehead.
Tex's brother and Ryan, who's hanging there, are shown.
Tex prepares the pots.
Again a close-up of the twitching face of Ryan.
Before the girl says that she wants to do it she grins maliciously.
At this point, there are again missing some cuts to Michelle and Ryan, who is still hanging upside down.
When Tex counts slowly down from 3 to 1, different shots of the family and Michelle are shown.
No running time difference
The following shots are missing:
Afterwards, the girl sits on Leatherface's lap and the mother says something. Leatherface kisses the little girl.
The mother talks longer and the shots are different.
Tex's brother wants him to help him skinning Ryan.
Some shooting in the house was removed.
The mother in the wheelchair being hurt + some dialogue between Tex and his brother. Some of the dialogues come up at a later point.
A few seconds are missing during the fight of Tex and Benny at the car. Moreover, some scenes were shot in a different angle. No time indication possible.
Tex burns longer. It's also shown how the flames spread to the car.
ca. 17 sec.
Michelle gets chased longer through the forest by Leatherface.
ca. 6 sec.
Leatherface is longer visible when Michelle crawls out of the water.
A lot of shots are missing during the fight of Leatherface and Benny and a lot is displayed in a different perspective again. A detailed comparison is hardly possible (the pics are from the end of the fight, where the guy loses, falls onto the chainsaw and drowns).
ca. 33 sec.
Michelle gets away from the shore and runs into Tex, who looks pretty burned. A short fight ensues and Tex is killed by a trap. After that, Leatherface comes out of the pond in the rough cut.
After she got rid of Leatherface, walks backwards away from the pond, sits down at a tree and starts singing exhaustedly.
The end differs:
In the rough cut, a police car approaches and she wants him to pull over. When she walks towards the car she sees the little girl through the rear window; she falls down on her knees and laughs/cries. Conclusion: Don't Mess With Texas.